The sexuality of the single elder
According to Araki (2010: 108), the question of how Japanese society will ‘realise the sexuality of single elders’ is one of the biggest emerging issues of aging Japanese society. Some widowed older women she surveyed expressed a desire to meet men but did not know where they could meet them. They identified a dearth of ‘healthy spaces’ for meeting and interacting with members of the opposite sex. Meanwhile, the single older men she surveyed found themselves struggling with social perceptions that older people do not engage in sexual activity, and that sexual activity is an irrelevant matter for older persons (Araki 2004: 67). Single older men who sought partners but could not find them identified reading pornographic magazines, masturbating, and frequenting paid sexual services as activities in which they engaged. Arguing that older people are sexual beings until they die (Araki 2004: 481—82; cf. Kitamura and Takayanagi 2012: 198—99), Araki states that even if sexual activity becomes difficult in old age, older persons have sexual desire and deserve opportunities for closeness and physical touch.